The Trinidad and Tobago National Under-20 Team will represent the Caribbean at CONCACAF level, after the young Soca Warriors stretched their unbeaten to six games last night with a goalless draw against Haiti in Caribbean Cup action at the Ergilio Hato Stadium in Willemstad, Curaçao.
The result meant that Haiti finished top of the group but will be accompanied in the semifinal round by the two island republic. Both teams also qualify automatically for CONCACAF and will continue their 2017 Under-20 World Cup campaign among the confederation’s top teams in Costa Rica next year from 17 February to 5 March in Costa Rica.
Coach Brian Williams’ team drew two of their three games in Curaçao—and three of their six World Cup qualifiers overall—but still advanced without kicking a ball this evening, after St Lucia and Cuba played to a 1-1 draw.
“Credit to every player and every member of staff for this effort,” Williams told the TTFA media. “We came here with one ambition which was to get out of the group and secure our place in the CONCACAF phase. And I must tip my hat to the members.”
Haiti whipped St Lucia and Cuba earlier in the competition while Trinidad and Tobago spanked St Lucia 4-0 and also had a goalless stalemate with St Lucia.
Antigua and Barbuda are next up for the Warriors in the semifinals. And the “Benna Boys”, who have included a few England-born players in their squad, are riding on a high after becoming their nation’s first team to get to CONCACAF.
For Williams, captain Jabari Mitchell and striker Nicholas Dillon were here before as they helped Trinidad and Tobago clinch the Caribbean Crown in 2014. A win over Antigua and Barbuda, from 5.30pm on Friday afternoon, will give the Warriors a chance to defend their crown in Sunday night’s final.
“We played unbeaten in the three games here and we are yet to lose a game in the qualifiers and I think that is something we can feel good about,” said Williams. “We are not going to get carried away because we still have a semi-final game to play and a chance to defend our title in the Caribbean. And then there’s the best of Concacaf for us to go up against next year in Costa Rica.
“But for now, we’ll let it settle for a bit. It has been a strenuous journey for the entire team so far and now that we have accomplished our first goal. we will now take the rest of this competition in stride and begin planning for the next phase and preparing for what will be another very tough tournament in Costa Rica.”
Trinidad and Tobago: 1.Denzil Smith (GK); 3.Kori Cupid, 5.Taryk Sampson, 6.Noah Powder, 17.Keston Julien, 11.Kareem Riley, 12.Shane Sandy, 19.Morgan Bruce (16.Micah Lansiquot 84), 10.Jabari Mitchell, 8.Jarred Dass (15.Kathon St Hillaire 73), 9.Nicholas Dillon (2.Andrew Rullow 88).
Unused substitutes: 20.Jabari Brice (GK), 7.Isaiah Hudson, 13.Isaiah Garcia, 14.Taofik Lucas-Walker, 18.Josh Toussaint.
Injured: 4.Kierron Mason.
Coach: Brian Williams